Jollof Rice

NPR segment on the signature dish of West Africa:


What is wonderful about jollof rice is that it brings everybody together. In a way, it’s a celebratory meal. You eat it at weddings. You eat it at funerals. You eat it at naming ceremonies. You eat it at parties. There’s even music about it.

It’s called ceeb or benecin in The Gambia and it’s the meal I miss most. You eat it with your hands and the oil drips through your fingers down your arm. Eating out of big bowls with multiple people is something we never do in the US or UK. It’s like we don’t know how to share our food. Food this good needs to be shared.

On a trip to Nigeria in August, Mark Zuckerberg praised the jollof rice he sampled, causing Nigerian jollof fans to claim sudden victory over their Ghanaian rivals. The #jollofwars memes have been flying back and forth forever, yet few seem to remember where the dish really originated.

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